When it comes to breads, there are few things more versatile than cornbread, whether you're looking for a quick and easy side dish or a hearty breakfast option. Let's face it, cornbread is delicious. It's one of those classic comfort foods that just hits the spot, no matter what time of day it is.
But is cornbread good for you? Some people say it's unhealthy, some say it's fine in moderation, and others claim it's a nutritional powerhouse. So, which is it? We did some digging to find out once and for all if cornbread is good for you.
What is Cornbread?
Cornbread is a type of bread made with, you guessed it, cornmeal. It's a popular food in South America and has been around for centuries. The first recorded recipe for cornbread dates back to 1736, and the dish has been a staple of Southern cuisine ever since.
Traditional cornbread recipe calls for a mixture of yellow or white cornmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, eggs, milk, and melted butter. However, there are endless recipe variations. For example, some people prefer to use buttermilk in place of regular milk, while others like to add sugar or honey to their cornbread for sweetness. The possibilities are endless!
The two most popular versions are Northern-style and Southern-style cornbread. Northern-style cornbread is made with white flour. On the other hand, Southern-style cornbread is made with yellow grits. Both styles of cornbread can be either soft or crumbly, and they can be leavened with either baking soda or baking powder.
In addition to Northern-style and Southern-style cornbread, there are many other variations of this dish. Some common variations include:
- Jalapeño cornbread: includes chopped jalapeños in the batter for a spicy kick.
- Honey cornbread: sweetened with honey instead of sugar.
- Vegan cornbread: made without eggs or dairy products.
- Gluten-free cornbread: uses gluten-free flour such as almond or coconut flour.
Everything You Need to Know About Cornbread Nutrition
Now that we know a little bit more about cornbread let's look at its nutritional content. A standard cornbread recipe will yield about 12 servings, and each serving has approximately:
- 85 calories
- 6 grams of fat
- 17 grams of carbohydrates
- 4 grams of protein
- 2 grams of dietary fiber
- 10% of the Daily Value (DV) for iron
- 8% of the DV for calcium
- 6% of the DV for vitamin C
Cornbread contains complex carbohydrates which are an important part of a healthy diet. The body slowly absorbs them, which helps keep blood sugar levels stable. This is especially important for people with diabetes.
Cornbread is also a good source of several nutrients, including the following:
- 10% of the Daily Value (DV) for iron: necessary for carrying oxygen in the blood.
- 8% of the DV for calcium: essential for strong bones and teeth.
- 6% of the DV for vitamin C: an important antioxidant that helps boost the immune system.
Finally, cornbread is low in fat and calories, making it a great choice for people trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight.
Cornbread - More Than Just a Piece of Bread
Still wondering if cornbread is good for you? Here are the health benefits of consuming cornbread.
- Cornbread is rich in antioxidants.
Cornbread is also rich in antioxidants, essential for protecting your cells from damage. One type of antioxidant found in cornbread is carotenoids, which have been linked to a lower risk of cancer and heart disease. Some research has even shown that carotenoids may help to improve eye health. It may also help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
- Cornbread is a low-fat option.
While some types of bread can be high in fat, cornbread is generally a low-fat option. One slice of cornbread has around 6 grams of fat, less than half the amount in one slice of white bread. The fat content can be even lower when made with skim milk and low-fat butter.
- Cornbread can help you control your blood sugar levels.
Cornbread is made with whole grain cornmeal, making it an excellent choice for people trying to control their blood sugar levels as eating whole grains has been linked to better blood sugar control.
One study found that people with type 2 diabetes who ate three servings of whole grains per day had better blood sugar levels than those who ate less than three servings per day.
- Cornbread may help reduce your risk of heart disease.
Whole grains like corn have been linked to a lower heart disease risk. One study found that eating three or more whole grains daily was a 22% lower risk of heart disease.
Corn contains soluble fiber, which has been shown to help lower cholesterol levels and protect against heart disease. Just one slice of cornbread contains about 2 grams or over 10% of the daily recommended value for soluble fiber.
- Cornbread can boost cognitive function.
Eating cornbread can also help keep your mind sharp as you age. This is because lutein in cornbread has been linked with improved cognitive function in older adults.
Lutein is thought to promote cognitive health by protecting against age-related cognitive decline. It also helps reduce the risk of developing dementia.
- Cornbread can help lower cholesterol levels.
Cornbread can help lower cholesterol levels thanks to its soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps to reduce cholesterol. It works by binding with bile acids and removing them from the body before they can be reabsorbed into the bloodstream.
This helps to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and improve overall heart health. Choose whole-grain cornmeal over refined varieties when baking your cornbread for best results.
- Cornbread can help improve digestion.
The fiber in cornbread helps promotes regularity and maintain digestive health. Fiber helps keep things moving smoothly in the digestive tract by adding bulk to stools. Fiber also helps food to pass quickly through the intestines.
Cornbread is also made with whole-grain cornmeal. So, it boasts even more digestive-friendly benefits. Whole grains reduce the risk of constipation, diverticulitis (a condition characterized by small sacs or pouches forming in the lining of the intestine), and other gastrointestinal problems.
- Cornbread can help fight inflammation.
Cornbread also contains magnesium, a mineral known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is at the root of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, arthritis, and asthma. Therefore, foods that help fight inflammation can be beneficial for overall health.
In addition to magnesium, cornbread contains other nutrients—such as vitamin C and beta-carotene. These nutrients have been shown to help reduce inflammation in the body.
So, is cornbread good for you? Yes! Cornbread is a nutritious, whole-grain food that can offer various health benefits. It can be a delicious way to improve your overall health. Eating cornbread offers benefits from reducing the risk of heart disease to promoting digestive health.
Cornbread is also a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It's a perfect choice for people trying to control their blood sugar levels or boost their cognitive function. When choosing a cornbread, be sure to pick whole-grain cornmeal over refined varieties for the most health benefits. And enjoy it in moderation as part of a healthy diet.